How much time do you spend on understanding how well your company handles returns? Many manufacturers leave returns to 3rd parties, but as this article by David Blanchard explains, creating a top notch experience and process for returns management might be the way forward for your company. This may come down to having a dedicated returns department in each area of your manufacturing – or maybe just having a defined process kept internally. Either way, the payoff can be monumental, especially with high end products: “These high consumer electronics return rates are unsustainable in a sector with brutal competition and thin margins,” Cline points out. Manufacturers, he suggests, should help consumers “understand, set up, use and optimize the products they purchase. Most companies invest considerable sums to manage returns but need to refocus their strategies on proactively preventing returns through customer education and aftermarket support.” The payoff can be significant. Hitachi America, a manufacturer of HDTVs, has developed a Service Call Avoidance program, which relies on an outsourced call center to handle complaint calls from consumers. The program is part of an ongoing effort to improve first-call completion rate, the percentage of customer complaints that can be solved on the first call. As a result of the program, the first-call completion rate has climbed from under 60% to over 90%, with 33% fewer service call referrals overall. Whether you decide to keep your manufacturing returns in-house or 3rd party, making sure that returns are seamless for your company and your clients is as important as having the product available for purchase.